Saturday, November 29, 2008

Romantic Dinner at The River Cafe

The River Cafe in Brooklyn, NY - Photo by Taste As You Go

The River Cafe
1 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 522-5200 | Map

Back in October, I attended my first FoodBuzz Featured Publishers event, co-sponsored by Electrolux. After sampling some delicious food prepared by Chef Brad Steelman of The River Cafe, I was announced the winner of the coveted door prize: a gift certificate for The River Cafe! Of course, as soon as I got home from the event, I made dinner reservations for Stephen (my boyfriend) and myself and began counting down the days until our night out.

We ate dinner at The River Cafe last Saturday and were amazed by the stunning sight of the Brooklyn Bridge when entering the restaurant. Although we were early for our reservation, we were immediately seated at our table after checking in with the hostess. We weren't fortunate enough to land a table by the windows, but we were still able to marvel at the view of Manhattan and of the Statue of Liberty off in the distance. Very romantic.

If you've never dined at The River Cafe before, here's a some helpful information: they have a fixed price menu. You get to enjoy three courses (appetizer, main course, dessert) for $98 per person. It was a difficult decision, but Stephen and I managed to order different appetizers and different main courses, but we caved and ordered the same dessert. (All bets are off for dessert!)

Yellowfin Tuna at The River Cafe - Photo by Taste As You Go

To start, I opted for the Wild Rock Lobster (tender roasted tails with fresh blood orange and celery root puree) while Stephen decided to try the Yellowfin Tuna (seared rare with foie gras stuffing, Burgundy black truffle vinaigrette, Italian bacon, and sweet onion froth), pictured above. I wish the picture I took of the lobster tails turned out better because the dish was amazing. The lobster was cooked perfectly and its natural sweetness was accentuated by blood orange and celery root puree. And Stephen's appetizer? Just as delicious! Neither one of us had ever tried foie gras before, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I liked it. (Guess this means I can cross foie gras off my Omnivore's Hundred list!)

Our main courses were just as fantastic! Normally, I wouldn't order another seafood dish if I started the meal with one, but I was drawn to the Branzino Fillet (Mediterranean sea bass, chorizo and shrimp "stuffing," smoked tomato petals, petit zucchini, and charred lemon confit).

Branzino Fillet at The River Cafe - Photo by Taste As You Go

Crisp Duck Breast at The River Cafe - Photo by Taste As You Go

Stephen, on the other hand, was drawn to the Crisp Duck Breast (served with truffle honey and fennel pollen glaze, a duck leg and potato croquette, organic carrots julienne, and bok choy). I have to admit, the pictures don't do those dishes justice. The combination of the chorizo and the smoked tomato petals paired nicely with the sea bass. And after trying a bite of Stephen's entree, I secretly wished that I had thought to order the duck. Seriously, though, I think we would have chosen wisely no matter what we ordered.

As I mentioned earlier, Stephen and I ordered the same dessert - the Coffee Caramel Parfait, served with salted caramel chantilly and espresso caramel sauce. Given how much we each love coffee, it's any wonder that we opted for the same dessert. We were instructed to try the parfait and the chantilly separately to appreciate the sweetness of the former and the saltiness of the latter. Then, we were told to try them both together. What an amazing difference! The flavors of the parfait paired beautifully with the chantilly, and I couldn't get over how transformed the flavors were when the two were combined. Simply delicious!

Three hours later, we were finished with our meal. A lovely, romantic, leisurely dinner. I didn't get a chance to request to speak with Chef Steelman before we left, so I didn't have a chance to snap another picture with him. But, the food was amazing at The River Cafe, and I feel completely blessed to have had the opportunity to eat there and to share that opportunity with Stephen.

The header picture was added to this post on 9/9/09.

River Café on Urbanspoon

12 comments:

doggybloggy said...

"the luck of the draw" I am glad you had a nice time - I didnt know they had a prix fix...

Jo said...

Looks and sounds wonderful :) I'm so glad you got to enjoy yourselves!

Michelle said...

Doggybloggy - We had an amazing time, thank you! Given the fixed price of our meals, we were very grateful to have that gift certificate when it came time to pay the check!

Michelle said...

Jo - It really was fantastic! Not sure if it'll ever be in my budget to go back, so I'm thrilled that the opportunity to dine there landed in my hands when it did!

FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels said...

Lucky you...that's quite a prize. I love the River Cafe - great atmosphere and, though I haven't been there in a number of years, it always had a very good reputation for the food. Glad you enjoyed it.

Michelle said...

FOODalogue - Dinner was fantastic! I loved the food so much, I'm wondering whether I can swing the money to try their brunch menu someday. :-)

Joie de vivre said...

What a lovely evening and such a GREAT prize!

Michelle said...

Joie de vivre - An unbelievable prize! If I had more patience, I probably would have saved the gift certificate to use on a night when it was warmer outside so we could sit right on the water. But I just couldn't wait to try the food there!

MyF said...

beautiful view while having romantic dinner :-) i think it makes the food taste more delicious and enjoyable!

Michelle said...

MyF - I agree! A beautiful view will always marry nicely with delicious food and fantastic company. :-)

Sue said...

I'm just catching up. What a wonderful dinner and what a wonderful description. I feel as if I was there, but, unfortunately, not this time.

Your pictures captured each dish beautifully.

Michelle said...

Sue - Thank you so much! Stephen and I did have an amazing time at dinner, and despite the hefty price of a full meal there, I'd love to go back sometime. :-)